Hedge Funds Care targets child abuse

Hedge Funds Care Cayman held its second annual black tie dinner, Open Your Heart to the Children Benefit, at the Ritz-Carlton last month, raising more than US$250,000.

Hedge Funds Care is a collaboration of hedge fund industry professionals which raises funds for the prevention and treatment of child abuse initiatives in the Cayman Islands, stated a press release.

Funds raised by HFCC’s inaugural benefit dinner last year have been put to work locally through the following institutions: Children and Youth Services Foundation, National Council of Voluntary Organisations, Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, Department of Children and Family Services and the National Gallery.

These organisations all submitted proposals outlining initiatives that they planned to implement in 2006 to treat and prevent child abuse in Cayman. Because some of these organisations had similar objectives, one of the mandates for the delivery of funds was that the organisations work together.

Child welfare specialist Mr. Bart Grossman elaborated on the development of the projects in his presentation to the 350 attendees at the dinner.

Case workers participating in child abuse treatment and prevention projects funded by Hedge Funds Care Cayman have revealed that, although not officially recognised, child abuse is a significant problem in the Cayman Islands, as with all societies, and needs to be addressed.

Mr. Grossman said that although the number of official reported cases of child abuse is very low in Cayman compared to those in other places such as the United States, this is likely the result of an absence of mandatory reporting, rather than an absence of the problem as grantees have been revealing a significant level of abuse.

One HFCC-funded project run by the National Gallery called The Children Speak Quilt gave over 300 children a voice about child sexual abuse by creating a quilt, which according to Mr. Grossman, ‘produced a powerful representation of a problem that has now come out of hiding in Grand Cayman.’

According to Nancy Barnard, director of the National Gallery almost half of the children who participated indicated that they had been or knew someone who had been abused.

Mr. Grossman says that in a small, intimate community like Cayman, mandatory reporting must come with the promise of anonymity, as it is extraordinarily difficult for people, even professionals, to report suspicions of abuse.

His speech also highlighted the positive work that has taken place in the less than eight months since Hedge Funds Care Cayman Islands made its first grants.

A presentation was made on the evening by HFCC chairman of the board, Glen Wigney, who spearheaded the incorporation of the chapter in Cayman.

‘My term as chairman has represented an extraordinary journey for me,’ he said. ‘When I attended a Hedge Funds Care fundraising event in New York several years ago, I could see the business potential for our underappreciated fund services industry in Cayman.’

The date for the next event has already been set for 15 November 2007.

WHO THEY ARE

Hedge fund industry professionals established Hedge Funds Care, a charitable organisation focused on assisting young victims of abuse, in 1998. Since that time, chapters have opened in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Toronto, Cayman and most recently in London. The targeted groups for the organisation include those organisations with interests in hedge funds, including investment managers, investors, prime brokers, attorneys, accountants, administrators and information providers.

The Cayman Committee of Hearts has representation by Deloitte, Ogier, Ernst & Young, PwC, KPMG, Walkers, Appleby Hunter Bailhache, dms Management, Citco, Maples and Calder, UBS and Rawlinson & Hunter.

For more information on how you can contribute, contact Denise Gower at 914 1692 or by email at [email protected].

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